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Yalla Yalla – Off Oxford St, London

[quote]The chicken wings were nice, drenched in pomegranate juice and grilled on the outside.[/quote]

We spent weeks trying to make time to visit Yalla Yalla, at first at their pop up store in Shorditch which for the life of us we could not locate on our mobile phone maps.

It was my sister’s birthday, so we decided we’d tube it down to the branch off Oxford St. TimeOut and the food critics were raving on about it, it must be half decent we thought. Walking in you feel the hustle and bustle of a busy market style atmosphere. People chatting, sitting on small café style tables and bar stools. It certainly had interesting décor and generally a nice buzzing vibe.

Looking through the menu, our waiter advised us on what is not halal, which was half the menu. We were keen to try to the highlighted “TimeOut 100 best dish” the Sawda Djej, which you guessed it! was not halal. After a disappointed start we ordered the usual, wings, halloumi cheese, some crispy fish bait with prawns and mixed grills for my sister and me. Mrs Rahman ordered the Moussakaa. We looked around; my wife noted all the little touches and attention to detail, while I was more concerned about the food.

The chicken wings were nice, drenched in pomegranate juice and grilled nicely on the outside. The halloumi was cooked right, spongy and subtly salty. The fishy mix was a little fishy lets just say and a little plain. Before we could finish, the mains arrived in our little café table, cramped with the three of us struggling to make space for it. The side salad consisted of just onions and parsley; you would surely need to have a pack Wriggles for desert if you ate it. The chicken shish was dry and lacking flavor. Both my sister and I struggled to down it with our cokes and side of rice. The lamb kofte would have been better cut with a steak knife, it was far too much effort to cut let alone chew.

As we debated on our thoughts of Yalla Yalla, my wife advised me that décor was nice and she liked the buzz. However for me, they should have cheaped out on the décor and sorted that mix grill out of theirs! I can only assume TimeOut and the rest of the food critics must have had the non-Halal dishes that could in fact be great, I guess I will never know.

My final thoughts were “Yalla, did I just pay for that food??” It is below average, regardless of location, décor or what the non-Halal menu may have been like. On a high note, I was pleased with the pictures I took, they do look tastier than what they were. Try out Levant; it’s around the corner and your better off spending your hard earned cash eating there.

Bill came to £70 for 3

T: 020 7637 4748



IMAG0685_1yalla outside

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